Madarao Kogen plans to be open until... today! Tangram Ski Circus plans to be open until Sunday 3rd April. Read more ...
Thursday 31st March 2016, 7:50am
Clear and sunny and somewhat hazy
Good morning from Yuzawa.
It's another clear and light blue sky hazy kind of start to the day here. The sun is out, the pollen is flying, and after temperatures reaching as high as 19 degrees in the valley yesterday... the snow is melting pretty quickly.
We actually got some rain last night though I don't think it lasted too long. It was coming down quite hard at one point though.
So anyway, it's clear again this morning and it may not get quite as warm today. Warmer again tomorrow. And sunshine forecast for today, tomorrow and Saturday.
Today is the last day of the season for the NASPA Ski Garden resort.
Maiko Snow Resort have also announced that they will not be able to open on 9th/10th April as originally planned, so this coming Sunday (3rd April) will be the last day of their season.
I'm not quite sure how the town level Yuzawa Park is able to remain open until now, but apparently they are. Official snow depth over there is 10cm but I suspect that it's 10cm less than that in most areas! Gambatte-imasu ne.
Resort official snow depths (Thursday 31st March 2016) and any specific news at time of writing:
Lower slopes around town now have little or no snow on them, though higher areas still enjoy good snow cover. Best to head high. Some of the below official snow depths seem a little... optimistic... with some surrounding areas at lower resorts closer to 0cm.
Resorts in Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma:
GALA Yuzawa Central Area and part of North Area remain open. Plans to be part open until Sunday 8th May 110cm
Iwappara Middle area only remains open Plans to be part open (upper areas only) daily until Sunday 3rd April 35cm
Joetsu Kokusai Plans to be part open daily until Sunday 3rd April 70cm
Kagura Plans to be open until 29th May (via Mitsumata; until 8th May via Tashiro) 160cm (Mitsumata) 190cm (Tashiro) 220cm (Kagura)
Hello and good morning to you all on this last day of March 2016.
We did get some rain yesterday and though I didn't venture out onto the mountain myself I am not hearing any reports of fresh snow up there. Rather some rather heavy going. It is nearly April though, so we can't really complain....
Well, not too much. (I know first hand just how easy it is for people to 'complain'. How about people complaining about (no-strings-attached) free tickets being given away in exchange for them doing next to nothing? Yes, believe it or not, some people can find things to complain about there!)
But, I digress.
There's no new snow to report again this morning, and so the total for March 2016 is.... (drumroll).... 109cm. That's 30cm less than in March last season. It also brings out "season total" up to 986cm which leaves us 155cm off the total for the whole of last season. I'll go into the numbers in a bit more detail in one of my reports over the next few days.
Mostly sunny skies expected over the next few days with some forecasts showing us the chance of snow around Sunday. Come on, let's get at least 14cm to bring the total up to 10m! Hopefully things will remain relatively calm too so lifts can be open as planned.
Just 4 more days left for the Hanazono area.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of posting (subject to change during the day):
Niseko Grand Hirafu resort area lift operations from Monday 4th April:
Ace Family Pair (8:30am-4:30pm) - until 10th April Ace Number 2 Center Four Quad (8:30am-4:30pm) Ace Number 3 Pair (8:40am-4:30pm) Ace Number 4 Pair (8:50am-4:30pm) Holiday Number 1 Pair (8:30am-4:30pm) - until 10th April
Niseko Grand Hirafu are also going to be 'upgrading' the King Number 3 triple lift in time for next season. The Hirafu Gondola as well as the King Number 3 and 4 lifts will all finish for the season this coming Sunday, as well as the Hanazono area. All being well though, the Niseko Grand Hirafu area should be open until 5th May.
Niseko Village plans to be open daily until Sunday 3rd April, and then from 29th April until 5th May. Morino Chair currently rested.
Niseko Annupuri plans to be open until Thursday 5th May.
We had some rain last night but this morning the sun is back and it's blue skies once again, and we're pretty much expecting sunny skies through until Saturday.
Sunday may well bring with it some rain and with the freezing point set to remain well over 2000m I don't think we'll get snow even higher up on the mountain. So it looks like Saturday will be the pick of the weekend.
Official info at time of writing on Thursday 31st March 2016 (subject to change):
Resort news as of 8:50am on Thursday 31st March 2016 (where available, all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: All courses at Hakuba 47 remain open. The Tree Riding Zone is now closed for the season. Official snow depth: Upper: 170cm Base: 55cm
Hakuba Goryu: Top area remains open. Lower main Toomi and Soft Cream courses also open. The Toomi area will be open until 9:30pm tonight for 'nighta' - last night tonight. Official snow depth Alps: 220cm Toomi: 70cm Iimori: 35cm
Hakuba Happo-one: The lower Nakiyama, Shirakaba North, Central Course, Kokusai, Sakka, Olympic Course II and Kita One areas are closed. The Nakiyama South and Shirakaba South lower courses remain open (very limited). All of upper mountain courses remain all open. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 140cm Nakiyama: 30cm
Hakuba Cortina: Courses open - Ikenota, Mt Hieda Forest, Mt Hieda 1 and Itadaira. Official snow depth: Top: 125cm Base: 45cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Areas now closed: Uma-no-se, Kano-no-naru-oka. Champion and Rinkan just part open due to insufficient snow. The top Tsugaike Ropeway is now open for spring season (extra charge required). Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 195cm Maruyama: 35cm Kane-no-naru-oka: -cm
Sunshine this morning. Just a few small clouds here and there, but mostly blue skies and it's going to be quite warm.
More of the same forecast for tomorrow too.
Looks like we might get some rain sometime over the weekend (maybe even some snow later in the weekend or early week?) - keep an eye on the forecast. A bit of fresh out there would be a very nice surprise.
Today is the last day of the season for a number of lifts (see below).
Information as of Thursday 31st March 2016 (subject to change)
Planned closing dates of lifts at Zao Onsen (subject to change due to snow conditions)
Open until today: Nakamori Number 1 triple lift Omori quad lift Yokokura Number 2 pair lift Astraea Number 1 pair lift Astraea Number 2 pair lift Astraea Number 3 pair lift
Open until Sunday 3rd April: Onsen Number 1 pair lift Onsen Number 2 quad lift Shobunuma Number 2 pair lift
Open until Sunday 10th April: Mikaeri pair lift Yokokura Number 1 pair AB lift
Open until Sunday 17th April: Kurohime Number 1 quad lift
Open until Thursday 5th May: Chuo Number 1 pair lift AB Chuo Number 2 pair lift AB (daily until 3rd April and then Sat/Sun and holidays only) Katakai triple lift (daily until 3rd April and then Sat/Sun and holidays only) Paradise pair AB lift (daily until 3rd April and then Sat/Sun and holidays only) Utopia Number 2 pair lift
The Zao Ropeway, Sky Cable gondola and Chuo Ropeway are all open throughout the year (apart from specific maintenance periods)
Lifts not mentioned in the above list have already closed for the season. Read more ...
Thursday 31st March 2016, 8:57am
Sun is shinning at Grandeco Resort once again today.
There was a bit of rain last night, but it hasn't effected the snow depth too much and the snow should be faster than it has been in the past few days. Sunscreen and sunglasses are in order for the slopes again today for sure. Be careful not to end up with a sunburn. The sun is stronger than you might think.
All the courses are groomed packed snow warming up to spring conditions in the afternoon. The snow is melting little by little, but you can still ski from top to bottom on over 4km of vertical terrain.
There are strong gusts of wind from the North from time to time, but this should mellow out as the day progresses.
Keep an eye on the forecast below... there's even the promise of some snow on there for late weekend/Monday!
Lift 4 has closed for the season, all other lifts operating
Resorts that remain open in the region are Grandeco, Nekoma and Minowa.
Nekoma will be closed between 19th-21st and 26th-28 April but these resorts all plan to be open until 5th May ---- whether they can do that or not will totally depend on the snow levels of course, which are less than usual and less than expected. Read more ...
Thursday 31st March 2016, 9:02am
Yesterday turned out to be a mix of good and bad, with great conditions early morning, and then a not so great afternoon where the rain that had been on the forecast did eventuate and drenched the resort from afternoon through until evening. There was a bit of a silver lining in that there was some light snow at the top of the mountain while raining lower down. Looking outside this morning the rain has sure aided the spring melt around the village with significantly more grass and road being visible now.
This morning we have low valley fog that has rolled down the mountain all the way into the resort area. The fog has lifted a bit but right at the moment there is still a lot on the mountain itself, so visibility will be a little compromised until this lifts. Temperatures were cold overnight and the village has ice over the roads from yesterdays rain.
Tomorrow morning should be perfect with sun and clear skies, but expect a very small amount of rain in the afternoon. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Thursday 31st March 2016, 9:04am
Clear and sunny
Good morning from Shiga Kogen.
We had a bit of wet snow falling last night here. Better than the rain that was falling down in the valley, that's for sure - though it didn't amount to anything really here (in terms of cm).
Today is the last day of the season for a number of lifts with others finishing up on Sunday. After that, it really does feel like the last stretch of the season as spring takes a real hold.
Having said that, after the fine weather forecast over the next couple of days, forecasts show the chance of some snowfall around Monday. Yes please!
Spring season dates for Shiga Kogen resort areas (subject to change):
Sun Valley Both Sun Valley lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Maruike The Number 1 triple lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Hasuike The triple lift plans to be operating until today.
Giant The pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Higashitateyama The Gondola plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Bunadaira The quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Takamagahara Mammoth The quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May (* Saturdays and Sundays only from 11th April until 28th April). The triple lift plans to be operating until today. The pair lift plans to be operating until Thursday 31st March (* Saturdays, Sundays and holidays only in March).
Nishitateyama The Nishitateyama lifts plan to be operating until today.
Tannenomori Okojo The quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May.
Ichinose Family The Ichinose quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Ichinose Number 2 pair A lift plans to be operating until today. The Ichinose Number 2 pair B lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May.
Terakoya The Terakoya lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May (* Saturdays and Sundays only from 4th April until 28th April).
Ichinose Diamond The Ichinose Diamond quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May (* Saturdays and Sundays only from 4th April until 28th April).
Ichinose Yamanokami The Ichinose Yamanokami plans to be open until Sunday 3rd April.
Yakebitaiyama Currently details are unconfirmed.
Okushiga Kogen The Okushiga Kogen Number 1 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April. The Okushiga Kogen Number 2, 3 and 4 pair lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Okushiga Kogen Number 6 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 24th April. The Okushiga Kogen Gondola lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May.
Kumanoyu The Kumanoyu Number 1 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April. The Kumanoyu Number 2 pair A and B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Kumanoyu Number 3 quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April; and then on 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th April and from 29th April until 8th May.
Yokoteyama & Shibutoge The Yokoteyama Number 1 Sky A and B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Yokoteyama Number 2 and 3 Sky lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May (and perhaps beyond depending on snow conditions). The Yokoteyama Number 4 pair lift plans to be operating until Thursday 5th May. The Shibutoge lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May (and perhaps beyond depending on snow conditions).
Sunny, and a little less hazy than the past few days
Spring is definitely here, and the snow is continuing to retreat really, really fast at base level.
We even have flowers blooming here and there, although interestingly not the cherry blossoms in Joetsu (one of the big three illuminated cherry blossom viewing spots). The cherries outside the house are also still keeping tightly folded, so they're keeping to a schedule and not looking at the weather, I guess.
Some rain last night, which might have helped firm up the snow this morning. To be honest, morning is the best bet for sliding; there’s almost a layer of water on top of the snow in the afternoons, making for very sticky skiing.
This is the last day for family resort Kyukamura RunRun and the much bigger Madarao Kogen; several others will be closing after the weekend, while Seki and Akakura Kanko are going to tough it out as long as there is snow. The weather has stabilized a lot, though; the freezing level should stay at 2000 to 2400 meters for the coming days, although rain is on the forecast for Sunday and beyond. April showers and all that, huh….
Akakura Kanko: 5° / 155cm; Sky Cable, No. 2 and 3 lifts; Champion side closed
Akakura Onsen: 5° / 130cm; running until April 3, with all the main lifts running; Ginrei section closed